New home for Sanctuary sculpture Fruits of labour celebratedFrom water balloons to winning artActors – but with Sinatra slickMusic to their earsTheatre team excel at living on their witsIdea to develop arts centreNelson Arts Festival’s subtle echoesArt lovers set to stroll Nelson by nightArt along the riverside
The third annual Art Expo Nelson was a snapshot of enormous local talent and the pulling power of art as a visitor draw-card. Last year 4500 people attended the Expo and this year more than 6000 turned up.
I was one of those people and send a huge thanks to Nic Foster, Annie Leather and the great team who brought us this warming winter event.
The Expo kick-started a new awareness of art around me. It reminded me to have a good look at the various art galleries and services around down-town Nelson, and to have another look at the art along the Maitai River. I’m always impressed with our public and private offerings.
The Riverside Murals Project is underway and when finished will deliver an outdoor gallery with eight different images on buildings along the Maitai Walkway between Paru Paru Rd and Bridge St. The 15-minute riverside walkway will become a public gallery as artists work to a theme of “our river, our people”.
So far I have found and enjoyed four works. At the Elmer Turner Library is a lovely motif on timber panels resembling a Polynesian tapa cloth.
At Millers Acre a painting in sepia depicts people and sail boats at the Maitai River mouth. Further along, underneath the Collingwood St bridge is a piece of urban street design called Flow. Finally, there is a tiled mural at Riverside Pool.
Sculpture is abundant, with art and heritage intertwining in works that we have been enjoying for several years.
My favourites include High Fliers, which is five stainless steel poles with boulders on top and a handsome hand-crafted macrocarpa seat dedicated to Maurice Gee. Outside the Millers Acre info-site is Reef Knot and a stainless steel canoe called Vessel that refers to our maritime history.
I am also fond of Aratuna Bridge where a collaborative work between Grant Palliser and Brian Flintoff incorporates art and infrastructure. A relief depicts eels, which were plentiful in the Maitai and a popular food for Maori and there are steel rings which represent hinaki, or eel traps.
There are many commercial galleries for those who want to take art home. Walk a bit further up to 96 Collingwood St, which, after 25 years as a barbers shop, has been transformed into a picture framer and gallery.
James Taylor and Gill Starling opened The Framing Rooms as an off-shoot to Richmond Picture Framers in Richmond. For a long time I thought this business was just framing but the other day I walked in and was impressed by the original art on display – most of it local. The space is perfect for displaying new work and will become a favourite haunt of mine.
The latest new kid on the block is Halifax St Gallery, formerly Rutherford Gallery. This is about to open and will contain three businesses offering a wide range of art and framing services. The gallery is a family affair with two generations of Dell sharing one large space.
All winter I have watched the metamorphosis of this building as first newspaper was removed from windows, then people appeared inside with tools and industriously painted and hammered.
Being nosy I had to go and find out what was happening.
Son Luke Dell, of The Guilded Edge in Tahunanui, has moved into town and is calling himself Nelson City Frames. Father Michael Dell, whose art has appeared in galleries all over the world, and who also does a fine line in bikes, is calling his space Bay Area Cycles (you will have to visit to see what I mean).
Finally, we have Broomfields & Co, a specialist needlework and tapestry supplier that is well-known in Christchurch. This is the place to find the perfect frame to complement your cross-stitch design, needlepoint, tapestry or any other type of textile.
Two years ago, Lustre Gallery on the corner of Ajax Ave and Collingwood St was taken over by Angelene Thomson. Since then it has expanded its offerings and, in addition to 27 jewellery artists, there are works by fibre and textile artists, paintings and gorgeous glass. I especially like the coloured hand-carved glass hei tikis.
Next door is Bill Burke’s Art Gallery and Picture Framing Business. Bill combines his love of painting and his 30-plus years’ experience as a professional picture framer, under one roof.
While not strictly art, at the Maitai River end of Millers Acre you will find River Kitchen who make good coffee. For the best of Nelson, I suggest that you sit alongside the Maitai with a flat white and contemplate life and how lucky we are to live in Nelson.
Spring is officially here and there are plenty of river-side seats from where you can enjoy the moment and the fabulous art around us.
– The Nelson Mail